Return to Transcripts main page

Piers Morgan Live

Interview with Herman Cain

Aired October 19, 2011 - 21:00   ET


PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: Tonight, the man of the hour for the hour. You know about his 9-9-9 tax plan.

HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is an example of mixing apples and oranges. The state tax is an apple. We are replacing the current tax code with oranges.

MORGAN: Border fences.

CAIN: It's going to be 20-feet high. It's going to have barbed wire on the top. It's going to be electrified. And there's going to be a sign on the other side that says, "It will kill you."

MORGAN: And, of course, his love of pizza.

Do you actually like pizza?

CAIN: Yes, I love pizza.

MORGAN: But do you really know Herman Cain, the man? Well, tonight, I think you'll know him a bit better.

Herman Cain, up close and personal.

CAIN: My mom is probably in heaven going, my, my, my, my. My dad is probably in heaven going, that's my boy.



Good evening. I'm in Las Vegas tonight at the Palazzo, the sister resort to the Venetian, where last night's Republican debate was -- to put it mildly -- pretty lively. And one of the lively protagonist is with me tonight, and that's Herman Cain.

That was some punch out last night.

CAIN: Well, let's just say it got energetic and a little bit of fireworks but -- between some of them but --

MORGAN: But you worry that -- you know Rick Perry was about to sling one at Mitt Romney? Maybe catch you on the way --

(CROSSTALK) CAIN: Yes, I was getting ready to referee and break them up. You know? At one point, I was going, man, they have really gotten into it. But no, they -- I think that they both came in with the intention of going after each other. They did it the last time. You can just tell that they are stout and say, look, you can go after them on this, on this, on this.

I don't spend time doing that. You know what I spend time on? Preparing to talk about solutions. And that's why I just leaned back and let the fireworks go back and forth.

MORGAN: Here's the thing about you that's fascinating. You've come not out of nowhere but certainly you've been the surprise of the last month.

CAIN: Yes.

MORGAN: I think you concede that. And what people are saying is, who is Herman Cain? Who's he really away from the slick performer? Because you're good with the talk and you're good with the walk. And you know? You know where I'm going here.

CAIN: The walk and the talk?

CAIN: Yes. You've got all the gift of the gab, as my grandma would say. But what is the real Herman Cain like? How would you like people to understand the real you?

CAIN: The real you starts with me being a man of faith, a man that believes in family and believes in the future of this country which is one of the reasons I'm running for president. My faith has been a big part of me all my life. Joined the church when I was 10 years old. My parents took us to church. They didn't send us to church.

So my faith has been a very big part. Now that being said, that simply means that I'm driven by not only goals and objectives and dreams, but I'm also driven by what I feel that my calling is supposed to be. I've always done that. Whenever I've had to make a very serious decision career-wise, I've always relied upon my faith, along with my wife, in order to make that decision.

MORGAN: What is -- what is your calling right now? Why do you feel this burning desire to be president? A job that many people view as one of the most thankless jobs.

CAIN: Right.

MORGAN: In the world.

CAIN: My calling is to make a difference. And I have done this all my life. I never dreamed that I would have a calling to make a difference at this level. But it really goes back to 1999 when my first grandchild was born, and I looked in her face and the first thought that went through my mind -- the first thought that went through my mind was, what do I do to make this a better nation and a better world? I didn't know the answer then. And it took 12 years for this journey to unfold. A lot of things happened since then. I ran for the United States Senate in 2004, came in an impressive second. 2006 diagnosed with stage --

MORGAN: Did you say impressive second?

CAIN: Impressive second.

MORGAN: Is there ever an impressive second?

CAIN: Well, yes, because I'm --

MORGAN: You're a winner, aren't you?

CAIN: Yes, I'm a winner. You know?

MORGAN: I mean in business, there's never an impressive second.

CAIN: Well, in that case --

MORGAN: That's a -- so you're not really a politician. That's what I like about you, is when you start saying things like, I came an impressive second.

CAIN: Right, right.

MORGAN: It's like, if you're a footballer, you don't come impressively second.

CAIN: I agree.

MORGAN: Why don't we -- why don't we do it again?

CAIN: Yes.

MORGAN: Admit that you came a disastrous second because you didn't win.

CAIN: I came in an impressive second.


MORGAN: An unimpressive second.

CAIN: Because I almost pulled it off.


CAIN: I came within 2 percentage points.

MORGAN: Yes, but you won't be happy if you almost become the Republican candidate?


MORGAN: Will you?

CAIN: Absolutely not.

MORGAN: So it's impressive to come second.

CAIN: Not in this race.

MORGAN: America right now --

CAIN: Yes.

MORGAN: -- can't afford to have a leader.

CAIN: Yes.

MORGAN: Who thinks that coming second is good enough.

CAIN: Absolutely.

MORGAN: It needs a winner.

CAIN: And that's why I'm running. I respect all of the other candidates up there. Some more than others who I think would be better than others.

MORGAN: Who would you respect the most?

CAIN: Well, I would say that Speaker Gingrich and Governor Mitt Romney are the two that I have the greatest amount of respect for. That I would feel comfortable if I did not get it. But I'm, you know, looking pretty good right now, but I have a lot of confidence in the type of job that they would do.

MORGAN: And who do you have the least respect for?

CAIN: Let's just stick with the one that I have the most respect for.

MORGAN: No, no, no, no. Come on. Come on, Herman.

CAIN: I don't believe Representative Ron Paul would be a good president.


CAIN: Because most of his ideas and positions are eliminate, end rather than fix. We need to fix a lot of things in this country. I don't believe in throwing the baby out with the bath water. We have more things that we can fix than things that we need to totally to eliminate.

MORGAN: Ideologically, you know, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry are the Tea Party candidates. You would imagine would be more down the political route than you would be.

CAIN: Right.

MORGAN: You haven't named them in either category, respected or disrespected. Why not?

CAIN: Because most of my career in addition to running organizations, turning around businesses, I have studied, written, and spoken a lot on the topic of leadership. And so after six debates and after listening to them do interviews, I have formulated my opinions about them relative to their leadership ability because that's the biggest thing that you need to bring to that job.

MORGAN: And what are your conclusions about Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann?

CAIN: When I listen to their answers to questions, most of the time they get off track because they don't -- either don't answer the question or they are not working on the right problem. And so they have a tendency when they start talking that they're giving a mini- stump speech.

MORGAN: How worried are you -- it's interesting you say that because watching you, if you don't mind me say, getting yourself into a bit of a whole yesterday over the whole issue of whether you negotiate with terrorists. I watched your review with Wolf Blitzer, my colleague.

CAIN: Right.

MORGAN: And you quite clearly answered in the moment.

CAIN: Right.

MORGAN: As if you would -- you would have released Guantanamo Bay inmates, al Qaeda and otherwise, in return for an American soldier.

CAIN: Yes.

MORGAN: And then later --

CAIN: Yes.

MORGAN: You decided that you wouldn't. And you've made a mistake?

CAIN: I misspoke. I misspoke.

MORGAN: Did you misspeak or did you make a mistake?

CAIN: I misspoke.

MORGAN: Because you go away and think --

CAIN: No, no, no.

MORGAN: Did you know what you just said?

CAIN: No, no. I misspoke. Here's why I misspoke. We were talking about the situation in Israel. OK? And the point that I was making, was quite simply, if I were -- Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, I'm sure he had a lot of information, a lot of --


MORGAN: Here's what I want to say to you, because you're a straight talker.

CAIN: Yes.

MORGAN: The reason people like you, the reason you're gathering momentum, people say to me, Herman Cain, he'll give you a straight answer.

CAIN: Yes.

MORGAN: What worries me, as you get more and more popular, you're starting to think, whoa, I've got a chance here, and so you unfortunately have to become a bit more political.

CAIN: Well --

MORGAN: You said that's risk here.

CAIN: That is a risk but I'm not going to do that. Let me finish --

MORGAN: Well, let me ask you a straight question.

CAIN: Yes.

MORGAN: Was Benjamin Netanyahu right to swap one of his people for over 1,000 Palestinians? It's not really a question of -- you haven't seen all of the facts or you don't know what he had to study. It's a basic transfer. One for a thousand.

CAIN: I disagree. I can't tell you --

MORGAN: But could you be the American president and just sit back over time on these hot issues and say, I don't know?

CAIN: Piers, for me to say whether Benjamin Netanyahu was right or wrong based only on the optics of it is not good judgment. This is why I was very comfortable saying that I misspoke about the Gitmo thing because when he threw that in there I didn't think terrorists, because my philosophy is we're not going -- we can't negotiate with terrorists.


MORGAN: Ron Paul made quite a good point.

CAIN: Always be that way, you know?

MORGAN: Ron Paul made quite a good point, didn't he? It's a pretty fine line, Ronald Reagan straddled it.

CAIN: Right.

MORGAN: Others have straddled it. It's like -- you know, in a way, there's a lot of negotiating with terrorists that goes on. CAIN: Yes.

MORGAN: Would you be happy if you were president in Afghanistan, for American military leaders there to continue negotiating and paying Taliban leaders if they felt that it was for the greater good of not necessarily winning the war in Afghanistan, but winning the battle against terrorism?

CAIN: If the commanders on the ground told me that that was a tactic, that they saw was beneficial, I would approve of it because --

MORGAN: All the Taliban are terrorists?

CAIN: Yes, the Taliban are terrorists.

MORGAN: So if you negotiate --


CAIN: Before you do something, OK?

MORGAN: If you negotiate with them in any capacity, aren't you negotiating with terrorists?

CAIN: Yes, but you see, some of the people that they are doing some of these things, they are citizens that they are converting to basically be on our side. It's not always negotiating with a terrorist. It's negotiating with someone who may be sympathetic to the Taliban but then they say, you know, these Americans aren't as bad as we thought. And then they come over to our side to be supportive of what we're doing. So it's not a clear black or white situation unless you know more specifics.

MORGAN: Do you think being the president -- now you're getting nearer to this and you have to consider the genuine possibility that you might be.

CAIN: Right.

MORGAN: And other people are considering and looking at you thinking, what kind of leader will he be? Is it more of a mind field morally, ethically, than perhaps you've thought before as you get closer and you start to have to wrestle with all these dilemmas?

CAIN: No. And it's because of my approach to leadership and my approach to organization. If you surround yourself with the right people and you have a solid organizational structure, which I've always done, and you have what I call guiding principles, for every organization that I have headed up, that will help me not to have to micromanage.

You can't micromanage being president of the United States of America. You've got to have people that understand your philosophy and who are able to execute some of the strategies and things that you want to do.

MORGAN: We're talking about your philosophy. I want to take a short break and come back to you, and take you right back to where it all started for you, Herman Cain, the kind of background and upbringing you had I think in many way drives you today.

CAIN: Yes.



CAIN: Many African-Americans have been brainwashed into not being open-minded, not even considering a conservative point of view. I have received some of the same vitriol simply because I am running for the Republican nomination as a conservative. So it's just brainwashing and people not being open-minded. Pure and simple.


MORGAN: Back with my special guest, Herman Cain.

Very interesting, quote, "provocative, inflammatory" in many ways, presumably deliberately designed to stir people up to create a debate. Were you taken aback by the reaction?

CAIN: I was taken aback by the reaction when I made the statement that I was answering Wolf Blitzer's question, why do so many black Americans vote Democrat? And I made the statement, because a lot of them are brainwashed into not even considering a conservative or Republican point of view or not even considering a conservative or Republican candidate.

But I also said, but the good news is, a lot of black Americans are thinking for themselves and they are getting away from that. I have seen that. I have experienced that. And so the fact that I chose that word brainwashed, I'm a little bit surprised by the reaction to it. But I don't back down from that word. Because when you have some people who won't even consider an alternative idea or consider, you know, someone who might not exactly agree with them ideological, yes, I call that brainwashing.

MORGAN: I've had a lot of guests on recently getting very hot under the collar about the Tea Party. Morgan Freeman and others, talk black American, even though you don't like using the phrase African- American. I'm going to ask you why in a moment. But black Americans, leading black Americans who say the Tea Party is racist.

And I know that your fairly humorous response is to say, I looked in the mirror and I appear to be a black man, and I'm in the Tea Party, which I get and you're perfectly entitled to say that. But you all know there are elements of the Tea Party who are racist. It's a trade secret. How do you deal with that as a black man who is now leading the Tea Party charge? How do you deal with the element in the Tea Party that is overly racist?

CAIN: Let me say that my experience has been, there is no more a racist element in the Tea Party than there is in the general population at large. It isn't. It is not -- if there is -- it's not. This is the biggest misperception. I spoke at the first Tea Party event that I ever spoke at, April 15th, 2009. I have spoken at hundreds of Tea Parties. It's not a racist organization.

MORGAN: What do you say to Morgan Freeman, to Harry Belafonte, to others who've been quite vocal about this?

CAIN: I say, go to a Tea Party. I doubt if they've ever been.

MORGAN: I don't think they want to go.


CAIN: I'll go with them and provide some ground cover for them if they think it's a racist organization.

MORGAN: Let me take you back to your early days.

CAIN: Yes.

MORGAN: Very, very -- I mean you said it wasn't even poverty that you came up and it was po', which is even worse than poverty.

CAIN: You did real good with that word.

MORGAN: Thank you.

CAIN: You know being --

MORGAN: Did I say it right?


CAIN: You got it good.

MORGAN: Po'. So tell me about po'. How po' was it?

CAIN: Well, when your dad was working very, very hard, and we could only get lunch money one day a week to go to grade school, and the other four days our lunch consisted of whatever my mother could scrape together from the dinner the night before. We would have sandwiches with no meat, we might have sandwiches with jelly or -- I mean, that was fine. It was filling. But they couldn't afford to give us a 25 cent coin for lunch money five days a week, and it was just my brother and I.

MORGAN: What do you remember about that, the fact that you had so little?

CAIN: What I remember most about having so little is we appreciated what little we had. We were thrilled when we could buy lunch on Fridays with the rest of the kids. It wasn't that it was that big a deal. And Friday's lunch was usually a hot dog, an apple, and a carton of milk but on that day we could go to the cafeteria and eat with the other kids.

MORGAN: Is this why you're so tough on the poor of today? Do you feel that by comparison, most of the people calling themselves poor, have no idea of the kind of poverty that so many -- millions of Americans had to endure that you did?

CAIN: I would say that that is true but I don't want to over generalize. There are a lot of people who are stuck in whatever their economic situation is but I also happen to believe that there are some people who don't take advantage of some of the opportunities that they could go out there and get. Those are the ones that I have the least amount of patience for.

MORGAN: Is modern America society, like many societies around the world, is it spoiled? Has it been spoiled?

CAIN: Some of the population has been spoiled. I happen to think that those demonstrated on Wall Street are spoiled. They have been -- they are spoiled and manipulated because I happen to believe that there was a coordinated effort to create all of this chaos and all of this distraction to cover for the failed policies of the Obama administration.

MORGAN: I found this fascinating yesterday in the debate. You got the biggest cheer of the night when you directly attacked the "Occupy Wall Street" protests. I was amazed by that.

CAIN: Yes.

MORGAN: (INAUDIBLE), a very wealthy audience, which we're in Vegas, they had a good night at the casino.

CAIN: Right.

MORGAN: But it's a surprising moment, I think, to many people to see you getting a real ovation for that attack and you kind of steered it away from not necessarily the people themselves, go outside the White House, you said. Go and protest against Barack Obama or against his administration.

CAIN: Right.

MORGAN: And I was like, come off it, Herman. You don't honestly -- I don't believe that you believe that the banking community of America is as blameless as you're pretending them to be.

CAIN: I didn't say that. I never said that.

MORGAN: You were kind of --

CAIN: No, no, no --

MORGAN: You're talking about manipulation.

CAIN: You were really --

MORGAN: You were kind of steering everyone to think --

CAIN: No, no, no, no. MORGAN: It's not these guys, it's these guys.

CAIN: First of all -- no, no. First of all, I wouldn't defend the banks because I happen to think that the banks are part of the problem. Wall Street is. They manage money. They had to make sure that business was run.

NO, I was not trying to defend the banks or Wall Street. What I was saying was they have their frustration directed at the wrong place.

MORGAN: But why?

CAIN: Why?

MORGAN: I mean I agree with Ron Paul. This whole subprime mortgage scandal was a bunch of wealthy bankers effectively preying on the most vulnerable elements of Americans society. Here you are saying to these people, I know you lost your home. I know you probably lost your job. I know you've got no money.

It's probably mainly your fault. And if it's not your fault, it's Barack Obama's.

CAIN: No --

MORGAN: Herman, no. What about these guys?

CAIN: Those are not the people that were protesting on Wall Street.

MORGAN: Some of them are.



CAIN: I know some of these people. The 14 million who cannot find a job. The underemployed. You know what they are doing? They are still looking for a job every day and they can't find one.

I know people like this personally, Piers. They don't have time to go to Wall Street to try to make some sort of social statement against Wall Street. They are looking every day. They're going out every day. I know -- some of them are my relatives that I have empathy for or feel sorry for because they can't find work.

So this is why I'm so passionate when I say, direct your frustration over at the White House because of these failed policies.

MORGAN: But I bet if I sat down with your family members that you're talking about now and said, how do you feel that nobody in the banking community of America has ever been properly held to account for what they did? Right? They would say it's outrageous?

CAIN: Well, Piers, I did reel against it because the problem is multilevel. First of all, I didn't agree with the government bailing out JPMorgan and the big banks on Wall Streets. I don't believe in too big to fail. Secondly, one of the bigger problems that led to this whole thing, remember I'm real big on, are we working on the right problem, was Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

And because Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac was corrupt at the core -- do you know two of the people that probably should have gone to jail first? Barney Frank and Chris Dodd. Because they -- their committees had oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and it is documented that they turned the other way, put it under the rug. They didn't do their job.

MORGAN: Give me -- give me a very quick pie. Here's a pie. How much is Obama's fault? How much is Wall Street's a fault? How much is the fault of the people themselves?

CAIN: I would say that 50 percent of it is Obama's fault, 25 percent of it is Wall Street's fault, and 25 percent of it is the individual's fault.

MORGAN: That's a straight answer, from a politician.

CAIN: I'm not a politician.


MORGAN: Thank you for reminding me. I need to have a break to recover from that honest answer from a near politician.

When we come back, I want to get stuck into your -- about your personal views on the burning issues of the day.


MORGAN: Be prepared.

CAIN: You might get a straight answer.




CAIN: If I am fortunate enough to become the Republican nominee, it's going to be the problem solver who fixes stuff versus the president who hasn't fixed anything in this country.


MORGAN: Back with Herman Cain.

I want to get stuck into you on your personal -- I guess your personal views, is the all encompassing theme of this segment. First of all, let's talk about homosexuality because -- and is that wrong? Do you think it's a sin?

CAIN: I think it's a sin because of my biblical beliefs and although people don't agree with me, I happen to think that it is a choice.

MORGAN: You believe that?

CAIN: I believe that.

MORGAN: You believe people -- seriously, you think people get to a certain age and go, I think I want to be homosexual?

CAIN: Let me turn it around to you. What does science show? You show me evidence other than opinion and you might cause me to reconsider that.

MORGAN: I think it's a load of a (INAUDIBLE), Herman.


MORGAN: The idea that anyone --

CAIN: Where is the -- where is evidence?

MORGAN: Just common -- you're a commonsense guy.

CAIN: Are you a common sense kind of guy?

MORGAN: You genuinely think --

CAIN: But remember --

MORGAN: Wait a minute, let me ask you. You genuinely believe millions of Americans wake up in their late teens normally and go, you know what, I quite fancy being a homosexual? You don't believe that.

CAIN: Piers.

MORGAN: Do you?

CAIN: You haven't given me any evidence to convince me otherwise nor has anyone else.

MORGAN: My gut instinct, Herman, tells me it has to be a natural thing.

CAIN: OK, so it's your gut instinct against my gut instinct. It's a wash. It's a push.

That being said, I respect their right to make that choice. You don't see me bashing them or anything like that. I respect their right to make that choice. I don't have to agree with it. That's all I'm saying.

MORGAN: It would be like a gay person saying, Herman, you made a choice to be black.

CAIN: We know that's not the case. I was born black.

MORGAN: Yes, maybe if they said that, you would find it offensive. CAIN: Piers, this doesn't wash off. I hate to burst your bubble.

MORGAN: I don't think being a homosexual washes off.

CAIN: Well, maybe that's -- maybe you are right. I'm just simply saying --

MORGAN: You concede I might be right?

CAIN: That's my -- you might be right, but what I'm saying is this is just my opinion.

MORGAN: Abortion. What's your view of abortion?

CAIN: I believe that life begins at conception. And abortion under no circumstances. And here's why --

MORGAN: No circumstances?

CAIN: No circumstances.

MORGAN: Because many of your fellow candidates -- some of them qualify that.

CAIN: They qualify but --

MORGAN: Rape and incest.

CAIN: Rape and incest.

MORGAN: Are you honestly saying -- again, it's a tricky question, I know.

CAIN: Ask the tricky question.

MORGAN: But you've had children, grandchildren. If one of your female children, grand children was raped, you would honestly want her to bring up that baby as her own?

CAIN: You're mixing two things here, Piers?


CAIN: You're mixing --

MORGAN: That's what it comes down to.

CAIN: No, it comes down to it's not the government's role or anybody else's role to make that decision. Secondly, if you look at the statistical incidents, you're not talking about that big a number. So what I'm saying is it ultimately gets down to a choice that that family or that mother has to make.

Not me as president, not some politician, not a bureaucrat. It gets down to that family. And whatever they decide, they decide. I shouldn't have to tell them what decision to make for such a sensitive issue.

MORGAN: By expressing the view that you expressed, you are effectively -- you might be president. You can't hide behind now the mask, if you don't mind me saying, of being the pizza guy. You might be the president of United States of America. So your views on these things become exponentially massively more important. They become a directive to the nation.

CAIN: No they don't. I can have an opinion on an issue without it being a directive on the nation. The government shouldn't be trying to tell people everything to do, especially when it comes to social decisions that they need to make.

MORGAN: That's a very interesting departure --

CAIN: Yes.

MORGAN: -- from the normal politics.

CAIN: Exactly.

MORGAN: You got into hot water about the whole issue of Muslims in a potential cabinet.

CAIN: Yes.

MORGAN: And you have kind of flip-flopped a bit. I think you would concede, you've backtracked, haven't you?

CAIN: Well, you media people call it flip flopping.

MORGAN: What would you call it?

CAIN: I call it explaining the intent of my comment.

MORGAN: Back tracking.

CAIN: You either flip-flop or backtrack. It's either all or nothing.

MORGAN: Initially, it appeared to be that you were saying you wouldn't feel comfortable, your words, with having a Muslim in a cabinet.

CAIN: Exactly. And this is an example of where I spoke to quick because I'm thinking about extremists, not all Muslims. I do recognize there are peaceful Muslims and there are extremists. At the moment that I was asked that question, I wasn't thinking about peaceful Muslims.

MORGAN: Are there extremist Christians?

CAIN: Yes.

MORGAN: Your loyalty test you came up with, do you still believe that --

CAIN: It wasn't a loyalty test.

MORGAN: What was it?

CAIN: The media came up with a loyalty test.

MORGAN: What was it?

CAIN: My test was simply, you have peaceful Muslims, you have extremists. I don't want an extremist in my cabinet.

MORGAN: From any religion?

CAIN: From any religion. If they have been violent towards other citizens -- if they have been violent towards other citizens, whatever their religion is, you want to keep them out.

MORGAN: My view of that whole thing was that for a Muslim to be in your cabinet, they have to be an American citizen. So they would have had to already have signed up to the Constitution and all the other things that come with citizenship.

So to a Muslim watching this interview, who is concerned about your view of Muslims generally living in America -- because the original comments were inflammatory. Whether you intended them to be or not, they were.

What would you say now that you're nearing the stage of possibly being president, to make them feel less concerned?

CAIN: If you are truly a peaceful Muslim in this country, I have no problem with you. I have no problem with you doing whatever you want to do in this country, like any other citizen. I have no beef with those Muslims that are peaceful.

I have had conversations with peaceful Muslims. I have had conversations with Muslims who have acknowledged what I'm saying. But they won't necessarily go public with it.

So all I am saying is I want to raise a flag of caution because we do know that we have the two groups in this country.

MORGAN: Have you learned to be slightly more cautious about how many flags of caution you raise?

CAIN: Not yet. Not yet.

MORGAN: Let's take another break and we'll come back and talk to you about the extraordinary battle you had with cancer, which, again, was also linked inexorably to your faith.

CAIN: Yes.



CAIN: I was diagnosed with cancer in 2006. I had stage four cancer. And in the words of my first surgeon, that's as bad as it gets.


MORGAN: Back with Herman Cain, who would like to be president one day. There's a reason I think that you are seen as a fighter. And that is the extraordinary battle you waged with cancer. Tell me about the moment you found that you had I mean not just mild cancer. You were hit full on.

CAIN: Stage four. When I first got my first cat scan, I thought it was just in my colon. And after the doctor did the colonoscopy, he said, well, there is something called resection. They could take part of it out. The incidence of success is very high. So I said, OK, how do we get this done. Let's get a plan together. You know, what's the game plan, et cetera.

It wasn't until I went to the surgeon with all of the test results and had a discussion with her, and she said near the end of the discussion, well, you have stage four cancer. I said, what is that? She said, that's as bad as it gets.

And then she started to explain the resectioning procedure. But then near the end of it she says, now, the tumors in your liver, I really don't know what to do about those until after I open you up. I said, what tumors in my liver?

MORGAN: You had no idea you had them?

CAIN: I had no idea that I had tumors in my liver, because when I went to get the cat scan and I got the results, they won't tell you the results. They want to send it through your doctor.

MORGAN: When you hear tumors and liver, you're thinking, this could be the end?

CAIN: Yes. I'm thinking, OK, Lord, if this is it, thank you for this wonderful life. I just pray that I don't suffer. That's what went through my mind. When she told me that I had a 30 percent chance of survival, I had to start thinking, well, maybe this is it.

But because of my faith, I wasn't afraid.

MORGAN: When did you realize you were going to make it?

CAIN: I realized I was going to make it -- first of all, I to go through chemotherapy, double surgery, recuperate from the double surgery, where they took out 30 percent of my colon, 70 percent of my liver, recuperate, go through some more intensive chemotherapy. And about a year after going through all of that and not having to be on chemotherapy, my test results were consistently good.

The second year, consistently good. About the second year is when I started to feel like I probably had won this battle against cancer. And just three months ago, I got a full, clean bill of health, totally cancer-free for five years. My doctor said I am a miracle, because I only had a 30 percent chance of survival, and I've been totally cancer-free for five years.

I said, let me ask you this, doc -- I know you can't guarantee this -- what's the likelihood that I could get cancer back again? He said the likelihood is like 0.0011 or something like. He said after five years, with the way your tests look, it's not likely that you would get it back.

I am a blessed guy.

MORGAN: How much of it is down to your lucky gold tie? And why gold? Why is it your lucky gold tie?

CAIN: Because I believe in the gold standard that we never should have gotten off of. And secondly, it looks pretty good next to this beautiful skin. I'm not bragging, Piers. But it sort of compliments the complexion very well. >

MORGAN: Let's take another break. Come back and I want to talk to you briefly about what you learned from your parents, the values that they instilled in you, why you think a guy that basically sold pizzas is fit to run the country.

CAIN: I can do that.



MORGAN: Back with Herman Cain. As a black American --

CAIN: Yes.

MORGAN: Why don't you like using African-American, by the way?

CAIN: Because as I trace my roots back in this country, the majority of my roots -- the ones that are more meaningful to me were the slaves that were my foreparents, my forefathers. So I identify as a black American more so than as an African-American.

Yes, meaning the slaves came from Africa. But my heritage is mostly here in the United States with -- the country went through slavery. We went through the civil rights movement. So I prefer the term black American rather than African-American. That's going back too far.

MORGAN: They showed on CNN the full Martin Luther King "I Have a Dream Speech" over the weekend. The first time they've shown it in full for a long time. Incredibly inspiring. Just goose bumps when you watch it.

CAIN: Yes.

MORGAN: You were around when that whole civil rights movement was going on, but you didn't get actively involved. Why was that?

CAIN: Because of my age. The height of the civil rights movement was the late '50s and the early '60s. I didn't graduate from high school until 1963. High school students weren't out doing sit-ins and bus boycotts. One, you needed to finish your high school education. And we had part-time jobs. So I was very young.

MORGAN: In your book, you tell a very moving story about you went to your local barber.

CAIN: Yes.

MORGAN: And all of the white guys kept coming in and having their hair cut. And you were just left there. Eventually one of the black Americans in there said to you -- sorry, this is not where you get your hair cut. You're a black man.

It seems almost impossible, my generation, to understand this was going on.

CAIN: See, you have to look at the fact that in the south, the tradition -- I went to black barber shops growing up. The tradition was you walk -- you didn't make an appointment. You walk into the barber shop. And whichever barber had the empty chair next, he said next and you just went in the order that you came into the barber shop.

So I go to Fredericksburg, Virginia. And I'm expecting the same tradition. But I sat down, I kept watching white customers being called up and I'm sitting here. It wasn't until I went up to one of the black barbers and said, am I next? You skipped over me. And that's when he said, well, we can't cut black hair in here.

I said what? No. We -- you got all black barbers. What do you mean you can't cut black hair in here? We would lose our jobs if we do. This was 70 miles south of Washington, D.C. I thought I was closer to -- I thought I was out of this kind of stuff.

So he said but you can find a black barber shop over past Sears on the other side of the railroad tracks.

MORGAN: What did you do?

CAIN: I drove over to Sears, bought me some clippers and a set of clippers, and went home and cut the my own hair. And I have been cutting my own hair ever since.

MORGAN: Have you really?

CAIN: Yes, I have. I have only had one professional haircut since 1967. How did I do?

MORGAN: Doesn't look too bad, actually?

CAIN: I just did this this morning.

MORGAN: You know what? You may have a future.

CAIN: I'm serious.

MORGAN: Doesn't work out in politics --

CAIN: Someone said, well, you're going to still cut your hair if you become president? Maybe.

MORGAN: That's an interesting question. Will you continue to cut your own hair?

CAIN: I might not, just because of the time required. And you know, as president, you're going to be time poor and issues rich.

MORGAN: One last break, come back and I want to ask you what I didn't ask you last segment, about your parent, the values they put you in that would you take to the White House if you became president.


MORGAN: Back with Herman Cain. Herman, your parents were both incredibly hard working, God-fearing. You know, they must have been incredibly proud of you. What are the values that they instilled you in that you would take to the White House?

CAIN: First, my faith, belief in God. They taught us that through their example, when we were young. As you would imagine, the strength of my faith grew as I got older. But it's always been something that was very important to me, as it was to my family.

Secondly, believe in yourself. My father worked three jobs at one point. My mother was a domestic worker. They were just hard working people. So I saw you want something, you got to work hard. But believe in yourself.

My dad was a barber, a janitor and a chauffeur. And when he was able to live off one job, it was that chauffeur's job. But he had such great pride as a chauffeur. And I used to tell people --

MORGAN: He was smart, too.

CAIN: Yes.

MORGAN: : He was the chief executive of Coca Cola's chauffeur. And eventually said to him, look, don't pay me in the normal way. Give me stock in Coca Cola. That changed the family fortune.

CAIN: My dad may not have had a lot of formal education. But he had a PHD in common sense. And when he told Robert Woodruff (ph) -- he said, Mr. Woodruff, I really do appreciate this, but if you could give me some stock -- it hadn't occurred to Woodruff. He said, Luther, that's good idea. He always had a cigar in his mouth.

Luther, that's good idea. That's when he started giving my dad stock. He still gave him other things as well. My dad worked for Woodruff about 25 years. In the whole 25 years that he received stock as a gift, he never cashed or sold one share, because he was thrifty. He was saving for their retirement.

MORGAN: That must have become a huge nest egg. CAIN: Not huge, but when you consider -- when you consider what he started with, it was huge.

MORGAN: Enough to take you to out of the projects.

CAIN: Oh, yes.

MORGAN: Into a nice house?

CAIN: But more importantly, it provided enough such that after my dad passed at the age of 56, we could take care of my mother comfortably, because she had Alzheimer's. So my dad was always planning for his retirement and my mom's retirement.

MORGAN: What would they have made of you right now, where you found yourself?

CAIN: My mother's probably in heaven going, my, my, my, my. My dad is probably in heaven going, that's my boy! He is dancing in heaven. Mom is just shaking her head. He has just never ceased to surprise us.

MORGAN: If President Obama is watching this, and I've got a sneaking feeling he might be, say you win the nomination and come January, it's you and him, black American v. black American.

CAIN: Right.

MORGAN: Pretty amazing moment for America, for the world. Are you the guy, you think, that could beat him?

CAIN: I believe that I could beat him, because I think that, number one, my leadership ability would come through even in a debate in terms of how I would approach problems.

Secondly, my experience with business, my understanding of economics, my understanding of how we create jobs, that would be just so obvious if we were in a side by side debate.

But it's not about color in America. And I think him getting elected, me getting the nomination, will underscore that fact. People are trying to make it about color. The voters and the citizens, they know it's not color.

MORGAN: I don't think it's about color, Herman, but I do think it is about this. I think, in the end, it's all about pizzas. Do you actually like pizza?

CAIN: Yes, I love pizza.

MORGAN: Do you eat it?

CAIN: I do eat it. I eat it all the time.

MORGAN: What is your favorite pizza? CAIN: My favorite pizza is to obviously with a nice tangy tomato sauce. And I like a lot of Italian sausage on it. But I like a lot of meat

MORGAN: A bit like you, fiery?

CAIN: Yes.

MORGAN: Emotional?

CAIN: Yes.

MORGAN: Passionate?

CAIN: Meaty.

MORGAN: Bursting in meat and substance.

CAIN: That's right, substance. Thanks, Piers. It was a pleasure. I have enjoyed it

MORGAN: That is all for us tonight. "AC 360" starts now.